Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday search challenge (4/2/14): What's the connection?

I'm actually on holiday this week (as opposed to my regular travels for work), so I'm going to post a real question that I found buried in my notes from last year.  

Apparently I read something about US history and wrote myself a cryptic note that I present to you as today's challenge: 

1.  What's the connection between "sea fencibles" and the US National Anthem? 

I must have run across this idea ("sea fencibles") somewhere and noted some connection to the anthem. But that's a funny note:  Can you help me figure out what the connection is? 

As usual, please let us know HOW you solved the challenge.  

(And, since I'm traveling around a bit, I'm not sure if I'll answer by Friday, although I know the SearchResearcher Crew will do a great job and probably solve it without me by then.  I'll post on Friday if I can, otherwise, I'll be home on the weekend and write it up then.) 

Search on! 


  1. The sea fencibles were at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and their action was the inspiration for The Star Spangled Banner.

    A pretty easy search for sea fencibles and Fort McHenry.

  2. I don’t know the term so [sea fencibles] with a Wiki results [].

    So it began with the United Kingdom as organized sea defence by local fisherman to prevent invasion. This term obviously was brought to the USA. That occurred during the war of 1812 to defend USA coastline and Canada had their own unit as well. Two units were setup in Baltimore under the War Department.

    Now the connection to the US National Athem [the making of the U.S.A. national athem]
    Second Result on SERP {}

    The British attacked the Baltimore port being defended by the Sea Fencibles and during the attack a young American named Francis Scott Key wrote a poem beginning with “Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light”. “Americans sang these words and remembered the attack on Fort McHenry. Then, in 1931, Congress made the "Star-SpangledBanner" the national anthem of the United States.”

  3. [ "sea fencible" baltimore ] to Wikipedia for Sea Fencibles
    I learned from that source that during the War of 1812 there were sea fencibles set up in Baltimore. "At Baltimore, two companies were raised under the command of Captains Matthew S. Bunbury and William H. Addison."

    I focused my next search on Bunbury since his company was quartered at Fort McHenry.
    [ "francis scott key" bunbury ]

    I refreshed my memory using this page on Francis
    Scott Key
    by the National Parks Service. I also read this transcription from Major Armistead's report of the 25 hour bombardment from a lesson plan on the National Parks Service site Reading 1: Armistead’s Account of the Battle

    [ "star spangled banner" sea fencibles ]
    U.S. Sea Fencibles at Fort McHenry, 1813-1815
    George Armistead

    Several sources state that there were sea fencible companies there during the bombardment making sure the fort did not get lost to the British and thus ensuring that the flag was still flying in order for Key to get his inspiration. I didn't find any other link to the anthem other than that.

  4. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers


    [Define Sea Fencibles]

    Sea Fencibles Wikipedia Naval militia established to provide a close-in line of defence.

    There also read about them in United States. (1813-1815)

    [USA Sea Fencibles]
    [USA Sea Fencibles around(3) USA National Anthem] in web Search and in Google Books.

    MARYLAND IN THE WAR OF 1812 Ctrl-F "Anthem" Site says: "On September 13-14, 1814, in the third year of the War of 1812, this 34 year old Virginia born artillery officer ordered an American flag raised over the ramparts of Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor following a 25-hour British naval bombardment. The flag itself inspired a Maryland lawyer to write a song that would become the U.S. national anthem on March 3, 1931."

    The Star-Spangled Banner History

    [Fort McHenry Flag Usa National Anthem] in Books

    National Parks

    [USA National Anthem Sea Fencibles]

    Forth McHenry

    Lawyer Francis Scott Key, aboard a truce ship in Baltimore harbor, saw the flag and knew that the British forces did not take the fort. He was so inspired by the moment that he wrote a poem that would later become the National Anthem.

    Site also has a link to

    Francis Scott Key Site mentions original manuscript is at the

    During research also found:

    [Scott Key Manuscript]

    Smithsonian Celebrates the Star-Spangled Banner Bicentennial

    And, Chris O'Donnell has a a War of 1812 ancestor: George McNeir who was a Lieutenant with the Sea Fencibles.


    1. What's the connection between "sea fencibles" and the US National Anthem?


    Sea Fencibles were the ones that assisted the Fort McHenry defense. "They contracted Mary Pickersgill to create "a flag so large that the British would have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance." This 42' x 30' fifteen-star, fifteen-stripe flag, would give inspiration to the defenders of Baltimore and inspire a new national song."

    Scott Key saw the flag and was so inspired that the Fort was not taken that he wrote a poem that would become the National Anthem.

    The Star-Spangled Banner (handwritten)

    Have a great trip, Dr. Russell.

    1. Ramón - enjoyed your finds; in particular, the Smithsonian and the Preserve the Pensions/War of 1812 sites…
      (how is it there isn't a Kevin Bacon/6˚ connection? ;) )
      small quibble regarding the Banner size - see here (36'x29' cited here)

      from the Smithsonian link below - #6
      size disparity? - see the preservation project
      "Why is the flag so much shorter today than it was when Mary Pickersgill sewed it?

      • The end of the flag was burned in the Battle of Baltimore
      • Samples have been removed for conservation testing
      • The Armistead family gave snippings of the flag away as souvenirs and gifts over time"

      from the Centennial…
      Armistead family fallout
      Texas v. Johnson
      missing star
      fencibles, " The pay is 12 dollars per month and navy rations; to serve one year, and paid their whole wages monthly. "

    2. Hi Remmij :)

      Thanks for your post. Is very interesting to know the difference in size of the flag. I didn't notice that until you mentioned.

      I'll visit the links you provide.

  5. Search “Fencibles” get
    Scroll down see fencibles use in War of 1812 (when Star-Spangled Banner was written)
    In separate tab search “Star-Spangled Banner” get
    Reminded that lyrics come from “Defence of Fort M’Henry” written by a lawyer watching a British attack on Fort McHenry
    Search “sea fencibles war of 1812” get
    scroll down to 1813-1815 see following text:
    “At Baltimore, two companies were raised under the command of Captains Matthew S. Bunbury and William H. Addison. Though generally mariners by trade, the Sea Fencibles were equipped and organized under the authority of the War Department. Officers received the uniform, pay, and rations of the Army, while the balance of each company (boatswains, gunners, and privates) received the uniform, pay, and rations of the Navy.
    Both companies at Fort McHenry were considered part of the regular garrison. Records indicate that Captain Bunbury's company was quartered at Fort McHenry, while Addison's men were quartered at Fort Covington. Their duties consisted of manning the barges, maintaining the chain-mast boom, providing guard duty, and manning the great guns of Fort McHenry's water batteries. On March 3, 1815, Congress repealed the act establishing the Corps of Sea Fencibles.”
    From there follow links to Fort McHenry and on to a more detailed description of the battle to see if additional detail on participation of the Sea Fencibles in the Battle of Baltimore
    Which described merchant ships taking part in the Battle of Baltimore and which included sinking of merchant ships across the mouth of the harbor which prevented the large British ships from getting close to the fort.

  6. Google search on ["sea fencibles" Star-Spangled Banner] brings me to a website called "Maryland in the War of 1812 | Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812". The page is named "U.S. Sea Fencibles at Fort McHenry, 1813-1815" (
    Sea Fencibles are a navy corps raised for limited service, exercised in the use of musketry and sea-board defense fixed fortifications and the maneuvering of gunboats.

    The connection: Their defense of the marine shore batteries at Fort McHenry in September 1814 helped give inspiration to a new national hymn “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

    From Wikipedia: "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from "Defence of Fort M'Henry", a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.

    More on this in "Anthems of all Nations":

    More history lessons in

    (about 5 minutes searching/reading/writing)

  7. My search was similar to many of those above -- here's an artistic rendering of the event, with an explanation of the role of sea fencibles in the Battle of Ft. McHenry:

  8. 1. What's the connection between "sea fencibles" and the US National Anthem?
    The sea fencibles fought in the War of 1812, and two companies of them fought in the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry. The United States copied the idea for sea fencibles from the British, who used volunteer fishermen and other locals near the sea to help defend the British coast from potential French invasions.

    The writer of the US National Anthem, Francis Scott Key, was aboard a truce vessel during the Battle of Baltimore and saw it unfold before him. The battle and the sight of the American flag still atop the fort served as inspiration for what eventually became the "Star-Spangled Banner."

    ["sea fencibles" "US National Anthem" ship]
    Clues: Fort McHenry, War of 1812

    [sea fencibles]

    [war of 1812 francis scott key]

    Search time: 30 minutes to find sources, double check their validity and accuracy, and read some of the battle accounts.

    1. I just get a Google Now notification about that you mentioned. It is a really good site and full of information.

      I really like that now SearchResearch continues the search even after a day because of searched terms. Google Now is fantastic!

      Also reading Remmij links, questions and answers to get the stars of the flag is a cool way to learn. Thanks Remmij!

  9. 1. What's the connection between "sea fencibles" and the US National Anthem?

    Well, I knew a little about your anthem and a little about fencibles so I had two places to start this challenge,

    SEARCH [us national anthem] took me to Wikipedia article about this. First I checked in with TALK to see what the editors thought about its accuracy. Its pretty good for our purposes. We learn that the lyrics were penned by Robert Scott Key who was on board a British ship treating for the release of a Baltimore doctor. After discussion and dinner he was not allowed to go ashore that night. The British bombed and rocketed Fort McHenry wherein Key notes the rockets red glare. In the morning he was pleased to see the star spangled banner flying high over the fort. Key composed his lyrics set to an old drinking song (“To Anacreon in Heaven”). (Its a good thing Key was not familiar with "99 Bottle of Beer)

    And this brings us to the second item.

    SEARCH [sea fencible] Again click on Wikipedia but check in with TALK first. Aha ! They do not like this article noting it is only a Start. So, onward to:

    Curiously has nothing useful for us.

    However this does:


    “SEA FENCIBLES, A number of men are wanting to make a company of Sea Fencibles. Seamen, Ordinary Seamen or Landsmen. It will be a comfortable situation during the Embargo, for those who are out of employ. The pay is 12 dollars per month and navy rations; to serve one year, and paid their whole wages monthly. Those who enlist are not liable to be transferred to the Flotilla or any other corps, but are to act as occasion may require under their own Officers, for the defense of Baltimore. Those who wish to enlist will apply at the rendezvous, No. 70 st. F[ell’s] P[oint] or at Fort McHenry. None need apply but healthy men. M. SIMMONES BUNBURY, Capt. U.S. Sea Fencibles.”

    The word “fencibles” were defined as corps raised for limited service, exercised in the use of musketry and sea-board defense fixed fortifications and the maneuvering of gunboats. Though seamen in general they were under the U.S. War Department and issued muskets and acroutrements. They, except for the officers who wore the standard U.S. Infantry uniform, the enlisted men wore no standard uniform, only the clothing of their trade.

    Their defense of the marine shore batteries at Fort McHenry in September 1814 helped give inspiration to a new national hymn “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In June of 1815 the corps was discontinued.

    A neat sidebar to this quest is here: USA did not have a national anthem until after this was pointed out by Robert Ripley, the genius behind "Believe it or Not" in 1929. A version of TSSB was made official in 1931.

    Not long to research but more time spent reading interesting stuff about the time


    1. JtU, nice sidebar find and cartoon with Ripley -
      Robert Ripley
      don't know if this was before you were sRsing… from almost two years ago:
      insanity defense
      Myrtle of Venus

      Key's muse
      Jimi, 38 years after the official adoption, March 3rd, 1931
      "The new law, however, did not specify an official text or musical arrangement, but left room for creative arrangements and interpretations of "The Star Spangled Banner." "

    2. Jon - Thanks for the reminder about looking at the Talk page for the Wikipedia article. This is a superb resource that not nearly enough people now about. I'll have to write a little something on this in a future post. Thanks again.

  10. searched : original title of anthem result found “version of a poem by Francis Scott Key called "The Defense of Fort McHenry", Encyclopedia Smithsonian. Star Spangled Banner and the Battle of 1812 “Britain’s naval force, buoyed by its earlier successful attack on Alexandria, Virginia, was poised to strike Fort McHenry and enter Baltimore Harbor. At 6:30 AM on September 13, 1814, Admiral Cochrane’s ships began a 25-hour bombardment of the fort.” Francis Scott Key had been detained by the British, and watched the battle from a nearby ship – later writing the poem of which part became the National Anthem.
    "sea fencibles" searched as is in Google – resulted in Wikipedia answer “Both companies at Fort McHenry were considered part of the regular garrison. Records indicate that Captain Bunbury's company was quartered at Fort McHenry”
    Used the provided references to find :
    Fort Henry : about the battle
    "U.S. Sea Fencibles at Fort McHenry, 1813-1815". Maryland in the War of 1812. 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013 “Their defense of the marine shore batteries at Fort McHenry in September 1814 helped give inspiration to a new national hymn “The Star-Spangled Banner.” by the same author referring to his article : Scott S. Sneads, “U.S. Sea Fencibles at Fort McHenry, 1813-1815,” (Military Collector & Historian, vol. 34, No. 4, Winter 1982), 159-163.
    Searched “fort Henry” “sea fencibles” to find :
    Lesson plan provided by the National Park Service “The Rockets’ Red Glare”: Francis Scott Key and the Bombardment of Fort McHenry which includes an account of the battle in a letter written by the commander of Fort Henry Armistead to James Monroe which refers to the sea fencibles
    This is a blog that also links them

  11. interesting site for Baltimore monuments:
    Baltimore, SSB

  12. Anne and I first did a search for "sea fencibles" and got this result - Because I knew that the Star Spangled Banner was written about the attack on Fort McHenry I just wanted to confirm dates so did a search on the Star Spangled Banner and got this article from the Smithsonian Encyclopedia
    So the answer is the Sea Fencibles were guarding the fort the night that Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem. They are what helped to save the fort so "that our flag was still there."

  13. What the others answered as well. The sea fencibles were a naval militia organized in the War of 1812 around Chesapeake Bay. They participated in the defense of Fort McHenry and were the inspiration for the Star Spangled Banner. After the war they paraded to a heroes welcome through Baltimore and were disbanded.

  14. "O say can you seezzle, by the dawn’s early light,"
    kind of a Snoop Lion thang…
    Google Bacon number, the pinnacle of SE optimization…
    Bacon overload

    7˚ of connection… Pig knows Bacon… and sizzle…
    Austin Powers/Hurley number
    sRs cocktail
    not to be confused with Francis Bacon
    or Francis Bacon
    or Francis T. Bacon
    … which leads back to K. Bacon…
    46 regarding 13
    Bacon in space
    SSB down under in 1:43
    on the same YT page…
    can Bacon fencibles be far behind? they need to step up the digitalization @ the LoC……
    Library of Congress
    British Museum
    James Aitken - Hampshire fencibles

  15. a bit of Canadian fencible info found while looking at New Zealand fencibles -
    not to be too ""sphinx-like" but there is a connection to the Paris sphinx question…
    hey!, it's Fred:
    Bacon fencibles
    The Royal Newfoundland Regiment of Fencible Infantry
    103 years after 1812
    surprising where the mind will wander while idling on a truce ship
    wholly appropriate name
    the other ship
    see: Francis Scott Key's lyrics (ships he was aboard)